“I have always thought that the way we occupy space is itself a kind of architecture. Always take care of your coordinates…” says Marco Palmieri (1969, Naples), a trained architect and the last student of Ettore Sottsass.
By reading his quote, it is possible to approach and better understand his artistic modus operandi. Palmieri in fact begins precisely by reasoning about space, circumscribing an area, a room and reflecting on the elements that inhabit it, in particular on the meaning that their position communicates on a social level.
Our position in space is indeed capable of communicating strong messages, such as a dictator or a king who by positioning himself at a level above the people communicates power and authority, or such as the unease that is often expressed by a person occupying a marginal position within a crowded room. In Marco Palmieri’s works, people undergo abstraction, transforming into geometric shapes. This choice is probably dictated by the desire to obtain an image that is aesthetically architectural, harking back to the metaphysical imagery typical of artists such as De Chirico, Carrà and Morandi. The subjects that the artist places in space, such as cubes, parallelepipeds or chairs, thus become a pretext for analyzing social dynamics, concepts or situations.
Marco Palmieri’s works are sometimes created by the artist from an actual physical construction of rooms and miniature objects, made of watercolor-painted paper, which are then placed in different ways and photographed in series. Other times the artist paints his rooms directly in watercolor on paper, as in the case of the MAPPE series in which he analyzes complex relational dynamics through spatial variations.
The MAPPE series consists of twelve works and thus twelve situations in which this time it is colored cubes that relate to each other. The title Palmieri gives to the works suggests the dynamics analyzed. For example, the work Love shows cubes scattered in space, all placed at an appropriate distance from each other except for two that are placed close together, attached as in a kiss. The work Riparo (shelter) follows the same “messy” pattern as the previous work, but this time a group of cubes is gathered in the center, in the act of coming together for protection. Other works in the series, however, follow a more geometric pattern, such as Privilegio (privilege), which depicts cubes positioned in a horseshoe shape that relate to a single cube, only on the left side. Diversity is emphasized. Unity and uniformity is broken by a side formed by a single element.
Through a pattern of solids and voids, presences and absences, approaches and departures, Marco Palmieri is able to represent with simplicity intrinsic, articulated and sometimes raw dynamics that the viewer can recognize with immediacy and make his own.
Courtesy by Marco Palmieri